Politics & Economics

Algeria: New Government Attempts At National Dialogue

North Africa

President Abdelmadjid Tebboune is forming a new government in Algeria and is attempting to show a willingness to enter into a dialogue with the protest movement.

The recently elected president Abdelmadjid Tebboune has begun to form the new government, after appointing members of the cabinet which is headed by Abdelaziz Djerad. The new cabinet consists of 39 members, including seven deputy ministers and four secretaries of state.

A number of appointed ministers have held posts in the previous government during the presidency of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, affirming the grievances made by those opposing the political status quo that the establishment is simply reproducing itself. Ministers that have featured in previous governments include Kamel Beldjoud, now minister of Interior, Belkacem Zeghmati, minister of Justice, Mohamed Arkab, minister of Energy, and Abderrahmane Raouya, minister of Finance.

Nevertheless, president Tebboune has come out and stated that he is seeking dialogue with the protest movement, known commonly as “Hirak” and to create the image of a break from the previous political system. He has asserted that amendments to the constitution are required and that business and politics, and the government and the judiciary must be separated from one another. His discourse points to the fostering of a “new political life” and “new republic”, which are demands that have been made by the protest movement over the past few months.

Tebboune is keen on instilling citizens with confidence in his new government, especially since the voter turnout for the presidential elections that took place on 12 Decemeber 2019 were substantially low.

Following the resignation of Bouteflika in April, as a result of weeks of mass popular protests in Algeria, demonstrators had high hopes that the country would find itself on a more democratic track. However, the past few months have dashed some of those hopes as the protest movement was suppressed to a certain degree and the interim government in charge until December manipulated its powers to bring affiliated political figures to power in a nomination of candidates for the presidential elections that were widely rejected by the public.